We arrived on Tuesday 04-19 at 1pm at the hotel. we automatically got an upgrade to a partial ocean view, not bad. the rooms are clean and updated, i thought the maids did a great job as well as the rest of the staff.
Some of our friends arrived on Wed and we hung out at the pool and at Duke's. Great time by the hotel with excellent beach access. The beach is very crowded, but you can venture in to the pool area and grab a ice-cold water or relax in the hot tub. Pool staff was a little slow, as was Dukes. Good food and drink though. Massages on the beach too, we opted for a massage 2 blocks away in King's Village shopping center at Pluma, it was okay.
Dinning on our trip. 1. Went to Tiki's, good food but slow service, moderate price, had portugese sausage and clam dish which i liked, but my stomach did not shortly after. 2. Cheeseburger in Paradise, good for a reasonable and quick bite to eat. 3. LuLu's overlooks the beach for a nice view of the ocean, had a great philly steak sandwich. 4. JR's China Buffett in the International Market Place, they are advertised in all the coupon mags, save your money and go to somewhere else. I like most asian foods and was excited to try more authentic dishes but was rather dissapointed by JR's and the other food vendors in the market. 5. Chart House by the bay. I liked it a lot, expensive, great service, known for steaks and seafood. 6. Royal Hawaiin Lua, they offer a Lua every Monday with a buffet, $90 per person for the show and food, 3 drinks included, here i got a more authentic taste of the food on the island, great tasting pig and salmon salsa dish. 7. Zippys for lunch, had the Surf Pac and chili-rice. I enjoyed it and it's a local favorite, ate Spam and did not even know it.
Adventures - 1. Defeintely go to Pearl Harbor, in and out in a little over 3 hours, you may wait for 1-2 hours before taking the boat to the Memorial, but the museum portion is great and very interesting, operated very smoothly.
2. Hike Diamond Head. Great views and a little rough if not in shape, bring water.
3. Haunama Bay. Great Snorkeling, saw 4-5 foot sea turtles right next to you and eels too. plan to spend 3 hours, peak time seems to be 9 - 1pm. Parking lot was full one time we went.
4 Catamaran Ride. spent $25 a person for all you can drink 1.5 hours boat ride. Every one on the boat was in great spirits, well narrated by the local crew. Dolphins swimming right next to us, boat can be shaky.
5. Royal Hawaiin Lua. Good time with our group of 10 people, food was well prepared, dancers i liked and fire thrower. the DJ of the lua had the worst jokes.
6. Cruising the island by car. went along the east coast one day and saw some great short board surfers with big waves. north shore offers more relaxed beaches, went to Sandy beach and sharks cove for snorkeling (very rocky and high tide but fun). stop for a shaved ice with ice cream at the bottom for a treat.
7. Walking the srip at night. Some interesting sights on the streets at night, thats all i'll say. Parents, make sure your kids stay together at night, travel in groups.
The highlight of our trip was our friends wedding at the Mandarin Resort on Friday night. The most beautiful setting, quiet and reserved from the hustle of Waikiki. Dolphins and sea turtles in their pools. Our friends said they were treated like royalty at the hotel, but paid the price too.
All in all a great time for a group of 12 cheeseheads in their late 20's. Definetly plenty to do. If i ever go back i want to travel to the other islands but Waikiki is highly recommended.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.